Mystery BGO


Nov 6, 2015
DS is a college reapplicant. Originally assigned to our state’s BGO area coordinator, then later reassigned to a different BGO. DS was proactive in reaching out to both....he sent an email to his new BGO over two months ago - crickets.

The BGO interview is the only open item for DS. I know the BGO interview is applicable to college reapplicants, but is the process different this time around? DS doesn’t want to make waves, no pun intended, but the silence is odd. Any advice? I told DS to just pick up the phone and call him.
Absolutely. He should most certainly pick up the phone and call him.
If the BGO interview is the only thing standing in the way of his application being "Complete, Pending Review" then the BGO will probably get a reminder from the Academy to get the interview done, forthwith.
Does he have everything else complete?

If he can't get a hold of the guy, maybe send a nice little email to the admissions coordinator and tell him/her that he has been trying to get a hold of the BGO, but nevertheless to no avail.
Definitely reach out. If he doesn’t get a response then reach out to the BGO Area Coordinator. They should be listed on the site for contact info. They would review his application even if it never gets done (if the BGO totally fails and never gets it done).
Yes...pick up the phone and call. If that doesn't work, reach out to the AC (AC contact info is on USNA Admission website).
Not an excuse for inaction, but Admissions isn't going to look at DS package until first semester grades are in (see the Repplication sticky at the top of the forum). As a practical matter, I try to do re-applicant interviews after Christmas - always interesting to talk with a re-applicant after they have a semester of college under their belt.
Over the past 90 days, 2 emails have not been acknowledged. In the same time frame, 2 phone calls....rings and rings and goes into voicemail. From a customer service perspective, this is unacceptable in the business world. On to the regional coordinator. If I were a BGO.....oh, never mind.
This certainly isn't the business world and BGOs are volunteers with jobs, lives, emergencies and holidays, too. DS has changed BGOs 2x, two out on medical issues, the last even driving 3 hours one way to make sure DS got an interview. I wish I could have bought him a drink for all the trouble!

I recommend patient persistence, including everyone in the email chains and calling those your DS has numbers for.
Wrap up: Interestingly enough, and surprisingly, USNA apologized for the dilemma. Within 48 hours DS was re-assigned to a BGO in the city where he attends college and, the interview occurred about a week later. The new BGO was very prepared and took a real interest in our DS. Ultimately, a very positive experience for DS. Onward.
Typically, they assign college reapplicants to their original BGOs. Sometimes this works out. Sometimes, the candidate is now halfway across the country and it's inconvenient for everyone. It's not a perfect system -- glad it all worked out for you!
What happens if the BGO doesn't submit the interview report until after the application due date?
Funny you should ask because we may be about to find out. The saga continues - BGO has not yet filed the report. Very frustrating for DS but he is following up, being respectful, and (trying to) keeping his head in a good place.
What happens if the BGO doesn't submit the interview report until after the application due date?

Nothing. Well, nothing that directly affects you. BGOs are currently getting lots of "encouragement" to get our stuff in by month's end. USNA really wants interviews submitted by then and we have an obligation to do so, unless of course, the candidate's delay in communicating causes the interview to be done very late (i.e., this week).

That said, USNA accepts BGO interviews submitted after Jan. 31. We will get "nagged" more if they are late. Eventually, if the interview isn't submitted, USNA will review the record without the interview.

A BGO who is repeatedly late w/o explanation could be asked to leave the program.
I had a reapplicant candidate assigned to me this year whose only connection to my area is that his parents lived in my county during his last year in high school, and now he goes to college in my area - sort of. His current location is technically in my area, but I would not be assigned candidates from that county or town because it's an hour's drive from my home. He wasn't an original candidate of mine last year, either. For some reason, USNA assigned him to our area and to me - even though his parents now live in Manhattan, NYC. I did the interview back around Halloween, but I have to say it was a little confusing until he and I spoke on the phone and he explained the situation in detail.

Personally, I like to do several interviews before I sit down and bang them out. Unless the candidate is 100% complete with their application and I might be holding them up, I like to have a few to compare them to each other before I submit them.

I know it's frustrating for parents and candidates to run into situations where the BGO isn't hyper-communicative, but I will tell you in my experience of 15 candidate cycles that it is usually the other way around. You ping kids in email, you call them, and no response. Heck, I even text them, now. Whatever works, right?:)

I used to interview every kid with "IN" next to his or her name until I realized that half to two-thirds of them never complete the application. The guidance now is 35% of application complete means they might be serious. Old, grizzled BGO's used to tell us 50% was the guidance.
I used to interview every kid with "IN" next to his or her name until I realized that half to two-thirds of them never complete the application. The guidance now is 35% of application complete means they might be serious. Old, grizzled BGO's used to tell us 50% was the guidance.

50% WAS the guidance until recently. My personal view is that 35% makes sense in the summer, 50% until Dec. 31, and after that, it should be 100%. Unless there's a really good explanation.

I don't have trouble getting hold of candidates. What I see are candidates who, in June, want me to interview them. They have completed 0% of their pack. In September, they email me again and swear USNA is their first choice. They have now completed 11% of their packet (1 item). In November, they ping me again. They're now up to 38% (3 items). The last week of January, they're frantic. They're now at 67% (still missing 2 items) and want me to readjust my entire schedule to interview them before Jan. 31.

It is the VERY RARE situation where the BGO holds up an application. I had a candidate this year who was 100% complete in October, including my write up. That candidate wasn't reviewed by the Board until mid-January. So, please don't assume that your packet is gathering dust waiting on your BGO . . . most of the time, it's not.

And, as noted, if the BGO doesn't get the interview done, USNA will move forward without it.

The above said, some BGOs simply aren't as responsive as others, or as responsive as they should be. For those who have such BGOs, that's unfortunate. If you feel very strongly that you had an unresponsive BGO, you can contact the Area Coordinator. However, this should be done only if you believe the BGO totally dropped the ball -- not just that he/she might occasionally be hard to contact. Someone who is not at all engaged should probably be replace. Someone who's trying to juggle a lot of personal and work commitments (which the BGO may not choose to discuss with candidates), should be cut a little slack.
My experience is similar to yours, '85. There are two kinds of candidates: the ones who email you as soon as school is over, and the others who never make contact.

I send emails to all of my candidates at least three times:
  • Once as soon as they are assigned, introducing myself, humanizing the process, and offering to answer questions for the candidate and/or their parents/guardians. I also send links to MOC's and Senators' sites
  • Once just before school starts to remind them to complete the app and nom packages
  • One last time in October if they haven't responded, and I follow that up with a phone call. I'd say the hit rate on phone calls is about 20%
Once I've established a comms rhythm with the candidate, it's usually pretty easy to stay in touch. This year in particular has been mostly through text/SMS, or email. Voice contact is very low.

The busy time is July-Dec, and I try to knock out the interviews before the end of October if at all possible. You usually know who's serious by that time, and since I live in Northern VA, nom packages are all due early-mid October.
I love it when a plan comes together.